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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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MIss Manners 11/13

UPDATED: Thu., Nov. 12, 2020

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION

DEAR MISS MANNERS: In these days of many new rules, all our local grocery stores now have one-way lanes. Being a highly obedient type, naturally I follow the arrows. (Although in the beginning, I have to admit I didn’t notice them!)

When encountering a shopper coming toward me, I have taken to saying “Oops, you’re going the wrong way on a one-way street.” which I thought sounded reasonable.

One person said, “Well, I’ve decided to make it a two-way street,” and another said, “Yeah, I know that.” I have to admit that I reacted to that by saying, “Oh, I see. You just don’t care.”

I considered parking my cart in front of them and saying “Turn around!” in a loud voice, but of course that is simply impossible for me to do.

What does Miss Manners say is the correct thing to do in correcting people who don’t understand the new rules of today?

GENTLE READER: Yes, the rules keep developing. As you said, you yourself did not notice the grocery store traffic patterns at first.

Miss Manners recommends that you continue proceeding as though going the wrong way is an innocent mistake – and simply maneuvering around any offenders. As you have found, scolding them does not make them reform.

Given the year we have had, you will likely need to save your righteous indignation for future issues and more stringent laws, like not feeding the locusts when they arrive.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m a 71-year-old man who was given the name of Shelly – a family name, though I’ve always gone by the nickname of Skip. All my life I’ve had to put up with snickers and boorish jokes, not to mention the misunderstanding that I am female.

I’ve dealt with all of this graciously,, never openly complaining but I would not wish this situation on others.

My grandson and his wife are now expecting their first child, a boy, and in keeping with their desire to embrace family heritage, have decided to name the baby after me. Hearing this has given me a great deal of pause, and now I think that I should have made my dislike of my name known to them privately ages ago.

How can I thank them for wanting to honor me, yet let them know that I would not want my great-grandson to have the name?

GENTLE READER: Thereby depriving him of a special bond – even if it’s one rooted in resentment – with his great-grandfather?

Miss Manners recommends that you politely, but cautiously, thank the parents by telling them, “I am so pleased to have someone with whom to share the precious burden that is our family name. Here’s hoping that he will have an easier time of it than I have. If he would like any tips or alternative nicknames, he can always consult me. But you will also not hurt my feelings if you find you want to reconsider.”

Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website

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